Space: With Naval Group, the Prometheus startup continues to grow

The summer was rich and intense for Prometheus, which is shaking up the landscape of the French and European space observation industry. This is also the whole meaning of the memorandum of understanding that the startup, chaired at full speed by Olivier Piepsz, signed Thursday with Naval Group. The two companies will carry out a joint study aimed at integrating data of satellite origin into the naval tactical situation of warships with a view to anticipating all the threats incurred by the ships of the French Navy and those sold for export by Naval Group. “It is fundamental for an aircraft carrier or a frigate to see beyond its horizon line, to have much more precise information and finally to have permanent observations for the benefit of ship surveillance”explains to the Tribune Olivier Piepsz.

“The objective of this study is to validate the feasibility as well as the added value of integrating real-time satellite data into information systems on Naval Group’s military platforms, then possibly to study the market for this type of service”, specifies the president of Prometheus.

Space, new added value for the naval sector

Space is becoming more and more essential to the naval world, whether military or civilian. This is where the startup’s skills come in: its Japetus constellation, equipped with 20 satellites with metric resolution (or even lower), which will be deployed from 2025, will provide global geographical coverage with a high daily revisit rate. (every 45 minutes at certain latitudes). This constellation could be an asset for the surveillance of the French exclusive economic zone (EEZ), one of the largest in the world (11 million km2).

These satellite images will not replace but complement the data from traditional sensors on board buildings (radar, drones and deployed aircraft). Beyond surveillance, the French Navy should also be able to use it for the pursuit of suspicious ships. Satellite images could even help detect submarines. These services will naturally find commercial outlets in the military naval sector but also in the civil field in connection with maritime security (pollution, fishing and illegal immigration, trafficking of all kinds, surveillance of coasts and ports, etc.).

In this context, Prometheus will provide satellite data to Naval Group, which will offer it to its customers. But Prometheus aims for much more. What the startup already offers to the naval world, it wants to adapt this spatial data service to the land and air worlds.

Japetus on the launch pad

The summer also brought very good news to Prometheus. If the startup has successfully launched its constellation of Earth observation nanosatellites Japetus, equipped with high-resolution multispectral cameras (Simera) developed by Safran Reosc, it owes this in particular to the French recovery plan. Thus, the CNES has decided to allocate 3.5 million euros to the Japetus demonstrator as part of the France Relance plan which it co-manages with the Directorate General for Enterprise (DGE). “With the 20 satellites of the future Japetus constellation, the areas to be monitored will be observed every 2 hours on average and up to every 45 minutes, an improvement of a factor of 10 compared to space systems. traditional”says Prometheus.

Prometheus’ first satellite, “ProtoMéthée-1”, is currently being manufactured by the Lithuanian manufacturer NanoAvionics for launch into LEO orbit in October 2023. This demonstrator will be based on a constellation with a high revisit rate (20 times more passes per day ). The 20 satellites of the future Japetus constellation of Prometheus will offer “a permanence in space and time without precedent in Europe”emphasizes Prometheus. Embedded artificial intelligence technologies and intraconstellation connectivity (particularly with the kineis constellation) will produce near real-time information cycles.

All these successes oblige Olivier Piepsz to accelerate the rise of Prometheus, which after having raised nearly 7 million euros and obtained aid of 3.5 million, needs a new fundraising of 11 million euros by the end of the year. Fundraising which should be facilitated by the commercial and technological dynamism of Prometheus…